Holy Name Province has approved Javier Del Angel De los Santos, OFM, and Juan de la Cruz Turcios, OFM, for ordination to the priesthood next month at St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Maryland. All are invited to virtually attend the May 29 ordination Mass, which will be livestreamed on the Facebook page of St. Camillus Church. Cardinal Wilton Gregory of the Archdiocese of Washington will be the presider.
Both friars have a deep connection to St. Camillus. Javier completed his 12-month internship at the Silver Spring parish when he was preparing for his profession of solemn vows. For Juan, St. Camillus Church is like home because he attended Sunday Mass there with his family when he was a child.
Education and Formation
Javier, a native of Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico, graduated from the Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in communication. He studied for a master’s degree in communication and socio-cultural studies at ITESO, Universidad Jesuita at Guadalajara.
Before joining the Province in 2013, Javier worked for 13 years in the corporate world in organizational development, change management, and career coaching in Canada, Mexico, the United States, and South Korea. In 2010, he spent one year in Israel and Italy studying biblical archeology, exegesis, and theology. That same year, he founded The Center for Biblical Studies “Xaire” in Mexico City, which was dedicated to the teaching, training, and researching of biblical studies.
After professing his first vows in 2015 and making his solemn profession as a Franciscan in 2019, Javier has lived at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, where he is studying at Boston College for his master of divinity degree and teaching sacred scripture courses. He also operates a YouTube channel with Spanish content called Verbum Dei, meaning “The Word of God.” Javier was ordained to the transitional diaconate in April 2020.
Juan grew up in La Uníon, El Salvador, and moved to the United States with his family when he was a teenager – settling in Maryland, where he worshipped at St. Camillus Parish, a community known for its diverse cultures. His parents still live in Silver Spring and attend services at St. Camillus’s mission church in nearby Langley Park.
After joining the Order in 2002, Juan professed his first vows in 2004 and made his final profession in 2009. He served at Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa, Florida, and St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Camden, New Jersey, before moving in 2016 to Chicago – where he completed studies at Catholic Theological Union earlier this month. He also holds an associate’s degree in fine arts and a bachelor’s degree in art history and studio art from the University of South Florida.
Since his ordination to the transitional diaconate last September, Juan has been serving in the Diocese of Gary, Indiana, at several churches, including Sts. Monica and Luke Parish and the Cathedral of the Holy Angels, both in Gary. He has also been providing deacon ministry at the Parish of the Holy Name Church in Cedar Lake, Indiana.
“My ministry there has been mainly preaching and service as deacon during Mass,” said Juan, noting that he has enjoyed being part of the interprovincial community in Gary.
Both friars are looking forward to May 29 when they are scheduled to be ordained at a 10 a.m. liturgy attended by relatives and friends of a limited number due to pandemic restrictions.
“This ordination will be very special not only for us personally, but for other reasons,” said Javier. “This will be the first time that the first African American Cardinal, his Eminence Wilton Gregory, ordains to priesthood two friars from Holy Name Province. Additionally, both of us are Latinos and, thus, part of the largest and fastest-growing Catholic segment in the United States. Cardinal Gregory is a great bishop, a compassionate minister, and a prophetic voice in these tumultuous times we are living. I am – we all are – very happy that he accepted our invitation to ordain us.”
Having the opportunity to share his ordination and first Eucharist with the people of St. Camillus is a blessing to Javier, he said.
“I have a long, deep personal and ministerial relationship with St. Camillus Parish and its people,” he said. “I was lucky to have had the opportunity to minister there for three years: the first time from 2013 to 2014 when I was a postulant, which included working at St. Francis International School; then in 2015 during my first year in simple vows, I founded and taught the largest Spanish Bible Study group in the Archdiocese of Washington, and I did my internship year from 2018 to 2019,” continued Javier, adding, “I feel as if the people of St. Camillus adopted me as their son and I adopted them as my family. I really look forward to sharing these special events with the beloved parishioners and partners-in-ministry of St. Camillus.”
Juan is looking forward to this sacrament that will allow him to “minister to the people of God in a different way,” and at the same time, provide “the opportunity to serve them in their sacramental needs.” He also said he is excited to meet Cardinal Gregory and have the “great honor” to be ordained by him.
“I am also looking forward to celebrating my first Mass of Thanksgiving with the community of St. Camillus and Langley Park,” said Juan. “I give thanks to God for all his blessings toward this humble service and to give thanks to the community for all their support and prayers.
“St. Camillus Church has played an important role in my Franciscan vocation,” said Juan. “Long before I became a friar, I was part of the Langley Park Catholic Community, a small mission of St. Camillus. This particular community had met at the gym of a public school, but all their Christmas, Holy Week, and Easter celebrations took place in the main church.”
Juan added, “St. Camillus was the first place I went to Mass when I came to the United States in May of 1997. My two sisters got married at St. Camillus. Through my Franciscan life, for more than almost 20 years, I consider St. Camillus my home parish.”
Several other HNP friars have been ordained to the priesthood in Silver Spring – most recently Mario Gomez, OFM, and Edgardo Lalo Jara, OFM, in 2017.
— Jocelyn Thomas is the director of communications for Holy Name Province.
Editor’s note: Information about the Holy Name Province vocation program can be found on the Be A Franciscan page on the HNP.org website.
- “Anniversary Celebration Continues at St. Camillus and St. Francis International School” — Jan. 15, 2020, HNP Today
- “Internship at St. Camillus Prepares Student Friar for Profession” – July 10, 2019, HNP Today
- “Pope Names Wilton Gregory as New Archbishop of Washington” — April 3, 2019, The New York Times
- “Time of Grace: Walking with St. Oscar Romero” by Javier Del Angel de los Santos – Jan. 20, 2019, HNP Today